Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monthly update?

So I am entirely too tired to really post an update with all the recent happenings. There have been a lot, and just the long and short is we may be able to come home in 2-3 weeks. I'll post a big update in a few days when I just have more energy. In the meantime, enjoy these month old pics! We were one month old yesterday. Hard to believe...

Just too cute for words!

Playing with my fingers.

I promise to give a full update in the next few days.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

4 weeks today!

So not too much really to update. We've had a good week. We talked about trying real feeds on Friday, and Elisa decided that was too much. She spit up and bradied once the words were out of the doctors mouth. She dropped her stats enough that they needed to remind her to breathe, so they consider that an event. It was too funny. Guess we forgot to consult with her first. So they decided she wasn't quite ready yet.

Andrew arrived Monday night for Thanksgiving. Both Elisa and I are very happy to have him here. Elisa got some good daddy and me time in on Tuesday and Elisa took a big nap on his chest.

We also went to see the Blind Side before heading up to the hospital. I will say it was a very good movie, but I had difficulty concentrating. The main reason is because I felt so extremely guilty for going out and spending a morning at the movies while Elisa was at the hospital. I know that we are encouraged by the staff to get out and take care of ourselves and spend time with each other outside of the hospital, but I couldn't help thinking that I WOULDN'T be at the movies if she weren't in the hospital. If I had to care for her myself, I wouldn't be able to go. Simply because I wouldn't fork over the cash to hire a baby sitter just to go to a morning movie during the week!

Anyway. Today was a very exciting day, as we tried feeding finally. And Elisa, again, showed her stardom. She latched on almost immediately and fed for 4 consecutive minutes. The consultant was thrilled. It was more than she expected from her seeing as she's still so young and little. But she took to it almost immediately. We did have to encourage her a bit but she got it. We still fed her through the tube for her full feeding, but it was very encouraging to see her accomplish this small step. Makes me feel like we are that much closer to bringing her home. It was kind of funny to watch her, though. As she is still little, she doesn't quite have the suck, swallow and breathe concept down. So you could see her thinking through the steps almost. She'd take a couple of sucks, swallow a few big swallows, stop and then breathe a few times and start over again.

So happy 4 weeks, my love. She's now 3 lb 9 oz and growing like a weed. 7 more ounces for her to get to 4 lbs! I can't believe she'll be a month old on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

3 week birthday

Happy three weeks, my love. It's getting harder and harder to leave her every night, especially since she's been a bit more awake and active now. Not really much to report. She's now over 3 lbs and steadily gains. She's still being fed from her tube and has the occasional spit up. She had a big one last Saturday that scared grandma and me half to death (went as far as turning blue and needed the vacuum to get it all out so she could breathe again!) Because she keeps spitting up they have her on 2 hour feeds. No update on when we will be able to go home. We have to learn to eat from a bottle first, even though we are keeping our own temp, and the brady's seem to be occasional.

So I thought I'd just do a blog of the differences between these last three weeks. You'll have to let me know if you see a difference in her size, because I sure do.


About 1 week:

2 weeks:

3 weeks:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Well, today is National Fight for Preemies day and I joined last week to blog today. I've spent a lot of time figuring out what I should write about. And today, on what would have been 32 weeks and my main goal when all of this first began, it struck me how our perspective changes based on things that go on around us. Sometimes, this can be for the better. Sometimes not. It really depends on our choice.

For instance, now at 3 lbs, we look at Elisa and think of how BIG she is. I look at full term babies and think of how gigantic they are compared to Elisa. To me, she's become just the right size. I don't see her as little anymore. I don't see her as a "preemie" and I won't label her as one. She may have issues when she gets older because of her prematurity, but I will not allow the circumstances of her early birth to be the definition of who she is. She's just mine, and she's gorgeous.

While trying to figure out what to write for this, I ran across a lot of stories of preemies who were born around the same gestation as Elisa or later. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a success story, only heartbreak. One died after 11 weeks. Another ended up with lifelong issues that will never allow him to grow up. Now, both of these parents decided to use this tragedy to spread awareness and to fight for preemies. But what about those preemies, like mine? Who are perfectly healthy, just early. Where is the hope stories for her, the success stories? My heart breaks for these families and I am in awe of their amazing attitude and desire to turn their heart break into a positive. But I would like to see, and hear, about those babies who were born early but grew up to live normal lives.

I guess that's where I differ from a lot of people. I can't focus everything on the negative. I have to believe that God has something for me out of this. Which is actually a change for me, as I used to always err on the side of "safety" and assume the worst, rather than hope for the best. I had a choice to choose my perspective. I probably have many reasons to be mad at God and rail at Him for where I am now. After all, all I wanted was a normal pregnancy and a healthy child. Instead I got two failed pregnancies and a preemie - born in a city thousands of miles away from home and a forced long separation from Andrew. We missed all the exciting times of bringing a new child into this world. The celebrations, the flurry of activity when it's "time." And I won't say I haven't had many arguments with God about all of this. I've screamed, I've yelled, I've questioned. But in the end, I only come to one conclusion. I can stay angry at God or I can see the best in this. And you know what I see? I see a pregnancy that lasted 3 weeks longer than it should have, thanks to the skill of the medical staff here. I see a healthy 29 week baby, who acted more like a 32+ weeker at birth. I see excellent medical care for my baby. God performed more than one miracle in my life since I've been out here. And through it all, my perspective has changed.

In the end, I'm thankful. I'm thankful that Elisa is healthy. I'm thankful that I ended up in Phoenix. I'm thankful that I have the option of continuing to work while she's in the NICU. I'm thankful for a job that has worked with me throughout these last challenging weeks. I'm thankful for a spouse who dropped everything when it was necessary to come to me. I'm thankful for a family who also dropped everything to be a support for me when Andrew had to return home. I'm thankful for new friendships who graciously offered support and a roof over my head.

It could have been so different. She could have been sick. But she wasn't.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Two weeks!

Not too much to really update with. Elisa made birth weight today, yay! It was the doctor's goal to get her back up to that by two weeks and she made it. The one area she is underachieving in, sheesh. Just has to be weight, right? Not like someone she's related to. Otherwise, she is still breathing on her own, she's made it to full feeds and this time is handling the extra fortifier. (Previous attempts, she gave back all she was given so they had to take the fortifier out).

Andrew and I are hanging in there. This is a very stressful time for both of us, made even more stressful by the enforced separation. I can't imagine being in Andrew's shoes and having to leave us both behind. At least I get the comfort of sitting with her and seeing her. We are doing pretty well with the situation before us and I can only credit God with providing us both with the strength needed to get through this. I am very thankful for Andrew and I know he will be a very involved father and I can't wait to give him the opportunity.

So here we are at two weeks old. I swear she's bigger, but you can't really tell.

Thanks Sadie and Lauren for my comfy blankey. I really like it!

She's showing her orneriness again today. We kept pushing the hat up out of her eyes and she would pull it back down.

So happy 2 weeks Elisa!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1 week today!

Happy 1 week! I can hardly believe it, really. It seems very surreal to me still that I am now watching her in her isolette rather than watching my belly grow or feeling her kick. We've watched several of her movements and laughed, because they were the exact things she would do in the womb!

So what have we learned about Elisa during this past week?

To start, she's received a double measure of the King/Hartzheim stubbornness. We should have known this with the shear amount of stubbornness that just the two of us harbor. Why do we think so? Well, lets look at her under her billi light. She hated the sunglasses they put over her eyes on this thing. I mean, hated. She would constantly finger it and attempt to push it off her eyes. She was also very active under this light as I think it just wasn't comfortable for her. Anyway, one night Andrew and I were in the room with her and watched her push her sunglasses off. So we reached in and put them back in place. Not two seconds after we replaced them, she had her hands back to them and pushed them off again. She did this several times in a row. We just laughed and laughed. Boy...what did we get ourselves into.

She likes baths. No surprise here again, as one of the tricks Andrew's mom used to use on him when he was fussy was to give him a bath. To this day, he always feels better after a shower or a bath. She received her first bath on Tuesday, and the look on her face said it all!

She has a mind of her own. Another not surprising feature she's inherited. She likes her legs straight out in front of her. No matter how much we attempt to contain her legs, she kicks everything off and sticks them right up. This is also how she was in the womb, so even though preemies tend to like to be comforted by a sense of "containment" and having their arms and legs balled up against them, she prefers that they are straight out. This is probably why she was footling breech in the womb. This is the exact position she would sit in those last few weeks. I don't have a picture of this one so you'll just have to imagine it.

Also, thanks to her great aunt and uncle in California, she is well dressed! She received several adorable preemie outfits and I was thrilled to find out we can dress her in those! So on they went...even though they are slightly too big. But she looks so adorable.

So, how's she been doing? Well, really, overall she's been doing well. Her only problems have been with bradycardia, which is where her heart slows significantly, usually accompanied by a bout of apnea where she forgets to breath. This is very common in preemies and is due to the immaturity of their lungs. She was evaluated by a developmental specialist who felt she was doing very well and her only issue was her breathing wasn't even yet. She also gave us some tips on how to read when she is overstimulated and needs to rest. Hiccuping, twitching, tremors, holding her arms straight out in front of her are all "stress" signs. When she's comfortable, her breathing will even out, her arms will tuck in next to her body and she's very calm. Also, when she puts her hand to her mouth, or sucks or pulls her arms into her body herself, she is "self-soothing." We've watched her for the last couple of days and are starting to be able to read her mood.

She really is continuing to amaze us. Andrew and I are, of course, worried still. We have no reason to be as she has no issues outside of normal preemie issues, but we are still scared. We will probably always worry until we can get her home with us. And still worry even some more, lol. It's always a wrench to my heart to leave her at night. I miss her tremendously when we leave and can't wait to see her again the next day. She's already captured my heart, I already don't know what I'd do with out her.

So happy 1 week Elisa! We love you very much.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bloggers Unite - Fight for Preemies!

I just found out that November is preemie baby awareness month. As I am now the mother of a preemie, thought I'd participate. Spread the word!